Three elected city officials to square off in State Representative primary

A local race highlights the state primary ballot on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Three current elected officials are squaring off in the Democratic primary for State Representative in the 11th Suffolk District.

City Councilors Leo Robinson and Judith Garcia and School Committee member Roberto Jimenez-Rivera are vying to face District 1 City Councilor Todd Taylor, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary, in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

After being split into two districts for decades, Chelsea was brought together in a brand-new district through the decennial redistricting process. Because the federal census count for Chelsea was not enough for a Chelsea-only district, the district also includes one precinct from Everett.

Robinson is the longest-serving member of the Chelsea City Council, and prior to the reorganization of the city’s government, served as an Alderman-At-Large for two terms. Robinson graduated from Chelsea High School in 1968 and attended Burdett College. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and was the co-founder of the Lewis H. Latimer Society along with his brother Ronald.

“I have the experience, the relationships, and I have worked all these years in the city of Chelsea,” said Robinson. “I feel I have the most experience.”

Garcia is the daughter of a single, immigrant mother from Honduras and attended Chelsea Public Schools before graduating from Wheaton College.  She was elected as the first Honduran American to serve on the Chelsea City Council in 2015 and has been reelected four times. She currently works as a communications manager for The Neighborhood Developers.

“I am a daughter of Chelsea,” said Garcia at her campaign kickoff. “This city raised and shaped me; it gave me everything and taught me one lesson above all else: There is nothing more powerful than a community that knows how to fight for itself. For too long, the residents of Chelsea & Everett have been denied a fair place in our state government.

“Now, this new district gives our communities a once-in-a-life time chance to seize the power that is rightfully ours,” she continued “To do this, we need a candidate who represents all of us – not one group, one neighborhood, one political ideology or one faith. Unity is our superpower. As your next state representative, I will be a voice for all of us.” 

Jimenez-Rivera is a current School Committee member at-large. He came to the United States from his home of Puerto Rico at the age of 18 and earned a Master’s degree in education. He currently works as an organizer with the Boston Teachers Union.

“As a husband and dad, I have worried about my family getting squeezed financially by medical bills that soak up every last penny we earn, home prices we will never be able to afford, and inflation that’s making everything too expensive,” said Jimenez-Rivera. “That’s why I am committed to fighting for the affordable healthcare, homebuying opportunities, and good jobs that we all deserve.”

He said he is the only candidate in the race who has supported the district by organizing and building regional and statewide power for the issues affecting it. 

“My advocacy has brought millions of dollars to our schools and has improved the lives of working families in Chelsea, Everett, and across the state,” Jimenez-Rivera stated. “That work has earned me the endorsement of dozens of lifelong community leaders and advocacy organizations, including labor unions, teachers, environmental groups, and social workers, more than all of my opponents combined. It’s time that we push beyond the status quo to get the change that our families need, and I’m the candidate who is best prepared to make that happen.”

Polls are open in Chelsea from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Early voting is taking place at Chelsea City Hall on Saturday, August 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Monday, August 29, Wednesday, August 31, and Thursday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Tuesday, August 30 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Friday, Sept. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon.

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